How to become a freelance writer
Research the requirements of How to Become a Freelance Writer. Learn about the job description and duties and explore the step-by-step process for starting a career as a freelance writer. Working as a freelance copywriter can be an exciting career, but it requires savvy marketing to set yourself apart from the competition.
Should I become a freelance writer?
Freelance writers have contract employees who are typically paid per writing assignment or batch of assignments. These professionals often work from home and may be employed by multiple clients. With the evolution of technology, freelancers do most, if not all, of their work using computers and often submit finished pieces to clients via the Internet.
As salaried positions become more difficult to obtain, competition for freelance jobs can increase and cause a writer’s income to fluctuate. According to Payscale.com, the median salary for freelance writers was $ 22.08 an hour in February 2020.
Education helps develop and hone writing skills, but experience and samples of published work often carry the most weight with potential employers. A degree in journalism or a related field can be advantageous when competing for assignments and provides the skill set necessary for a career.
How to become a freelance writer
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree
Although formal education is not required, freelance writers often have a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism or communication. These programs typically include courses in literature, creative writing, and introductory journalism.
They also tend to include internships that provide valuable experience outside of the classroom and can be listed on a resume to attract potential clients. Students can also tailor their elective courses to a career in freelance writing. Some colleges and universities even offer independent writing courses that can benefit students looking to break into the field.
You may also be considering taking marketing and accounting courses, which can teach freelancers how to promote themselves and manage their finances as independent entrepreneurs, as well as computer courses that train students in word processing. , spreadsheets and multimedia software.
Here is a tip for success:
- Write for school publications. Aspiring freelance writers can improve their writing skills by writing for student publications, such as newspapers, magazines, blogs, or newsletters. These opportunities provide writers with valuable experience and examples of professional writing.
2. Create a portfolio
A portfolio consists of samples of published works that showcase a writer’s style and compositional skills. When looking for freelance jobs, a writer needs a portfolio to present to clients. A novice writer’s portfolio may include work completed in college or through an internship. Collecting a set of published samples may involve writing newspapers, magazines, blogs, or other publications without payment.
3. Look for independent assignments
A significant portion of a freelance writer’s time is spent finding work. Writers can find employment opportunities through print and online media. There are different methods of finding assignments.
Freelancers can apply for editorial positions or send query letters and article proposals directly to editors of various publications.
If a publisher approves a proposal, they can negotiate a contract with the freelance writer and describe the requirements of the article. Freelance writers rarely work for one publisher and often work for several at the same time.
Here is one last tip for success:
- Join a professional organization. Like the American Society of Journalists and Authors or the National Writers Union, professional organizations offer networking opportunities that help freelancers acquire clients, internship opportunities, and even insurance discounts.
Local writing organizations also exist for writers living in or near major cities.
Becoming a freelance writer usually requires a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or communications; a portfolio of writing samples; and the perseverance required to find and pursue writing assignments.